Public School – Tesoro High School Tue, 22 Jun 2021 00:26:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Public School – Tesoro High School 32 32 As COVID-19 vaccine mandate highly unlikely for schools this fall, education officials continue to push for Poke Mon, 21 Jun 2021 23:58:00 +0000

By Eric Rosane /

Recent Toledo graduate Nicholas Marty fears the pandemic. And that’s a question few of his peers probably think about.

“There is a feeling that since my generation is in their twenties, since we don’t get so sick from this virus (COVID-19), there might be less perceived need for (the vaccine),” a- he told The Chronicle. . “I think the most important thing, talking to people in my class and talking to my friends, is that there is a perceived sense of invulnerability, so why not even get the shot?”

A student representative from the Toledo school board, Marty, 18, conveyed these fears to the board in a 20-minute exit speech filled with, at times, rosy musings about his time at school.

Toledo High School was one of many rural schools that temporarily returned to distance learning last month due to the high number of cases.

“My concern is that since we just closed the high school, unless something drastically changes with the way people get vaccinated, I think it will be a constant worry for the future,” he said. he declares.

Office of the Superintendent of Public Education (OSPI) Ensuring Public School Districts Offer Full-Time In-Person Learning This Fall, Education Officials Struggle With Capped Immunization Rates, Get Eligible Students Immunized and how to approach creating another school year in the pandemic.

So far, 406 – or 7% – of Lewis County children aged 12 to 17 have been fully immunized, which is less than half the state’s average immunization rate in this age group. . Although the vaccine supply is already widely available, some health experts believe that the eventual approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and the extension of vaccinations to younger age groups could improve slow rates of the disease. State.

Part of that answer is awareness.

Washington state health officials and Superintendent of Public Education Chris Reykdal participated in a COVID-19 vaccination webinar hosted by two Washington state students on Wednesday. During the presentation, Reykdal told families and attendees quite clearly that vaccines will not be needed for public school staff and students this fall.

“The simple message for families is that there is no term at school that we are planning next year for students or staff, which is why it is so important if you are eligible for vaccination, please do it, ”he said. “It’s just a numbers game… We all have this community contribution, we all have this thing we can do for each other.”

Reykdal said the return to in-person learning this year was marked largely by low transmission rates, mainly due to schools closely following state and federal health guidelines, including the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Dr Scott Lindquist, acting health officer for the Washington State Department of Health, said there have been 237 outbreaks and more than 900 confirmed cases in schools since teaching began l t was last fall, but these outbreaks were largely minimal and caused by activities outside the classroom. .

“This means that 70% of these outbreaks were about two to three cases, which shows us that the controls put in place by schools and school districts were really controlling these outbreaks. These are not epidemics of monsters. And, to be quite frank, the largest percentage of these outbreaks were adults in school settings, ”he said.

April saw the highest number of outbreaks throughout the school year. But Lindquist, who has taken her child to in-person classes this year, said he felt it was overall a very safe environment for staff and students, especially if they are. vaccinated.

Public schools will most likely start school this fall the same way they ended it, but Lindquist said Washington state’s June 30 reopening date may bring more opportunities to relax. restrictions on public education.

But the pandemic is not over.

“This pandemic has seen four waves at this point. We have just passed the fourth wave, but we are at higher levels than ever, with the exception of last winter. These are pretty extreme levels. It will still require a lot of masking, social distancing and increased vaccination, ”Lindquist said.

JP Anderson, Lewis County director of public health and social services, said the county was busy promoting vaccination among its general population and had yet to establish metrics to determine where they would like to see vaccination of young people by fall.

“I think in general we would like to think that the more students there are vaccinated, the more likely schools are to stay open full time, in person, and epidemic free. The more students are vaccinated, the safer we think schools will be, ”he said.

The county has been working to engage with families to dispel myths surrounding the nascent COVID-19 vaccine, which was found to be extremely safe when it was approved for emergency use.

It was recently announced that pediatric clinics would see reimbursement for their work on immunization education, Anderson said.

“Our plan right now is to work closely with pediatricians to do everything we can to provide them with vaccines and partner with them,” he said.

Anderson said the lag they are seeing in vaccinating young people is similar to the one they are seeing in the general population.

Northwest Pediatrics pediatrician Dr. Maria Huang has given small group presentations and vaccine training with local school districts in Thurston and Lewis counties. She said the main concern of parents and families is that they feel they don’t have enough verified information about the shot.

People also approach it with questions about infertility, mistrust of new vaccines, and concerns about long-term side effects. She always responds by saying that the vaccine is completely safe for all current eligible age groups and has been backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“There are people who are open to information and welcoming, and there are people who are not. It was quite revealing, just to see how the public adopted the COVID vaccine, ”she said.

Over the past two decades, Huang said, there has been a massive drop in vaccination rates nationally and locally. This has been facilitated by disinformation spreading online at an alarming rate – sometimes much faster than verified and reliable information.

“It’s really concerning because we see whooping cough, measles, mumps – these are epidemics that we didn’t see before when most of our population was vaccinated and we had herd immunity, but over the years. In the last two decades we’ve seen much lower vaccination rates, ”she said.

With the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, Huang said there was also an immediately noticeable plateau, which still persists today.

“I think my biggest concern is that when I speak one-to-one with families, most of their concerns are anecdotal,” she said. “I think the community sees what they want to see in their social circle, but I think the pandemic has really shown us that we really need to come together and think bigger… to do things to not only serve our families but others.”

Although the pandemic has eaten up nearly half of his high school career, Nicholas Marty said his group of friends doesn’t revolve around who and who isn’t vaccinated – he has a mix of friends who are vaccinated and not. .

Among the teenagers, Marty said, there seems to be an indifference to all of this, although there have been many cases of young people who are seriously ill.

Marty, who has been vaccinated for about a month now, said he wishes the best for his community and hopes they achieve collective immunity.

“If Seattle is at 80%, that’s fine. But I’m worried about where Toledo is,” he said.

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Wayne School Board will vote to limit the public time limit to 3 minutes per speaker Mon, 21 Jun 2021 06:00:00 +0000

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“An Extraordinary Legacy” “Albuquerque Journal Sun, 20 Jun 2021 06:02:00 +0000

Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica García ends a 48-year career in public education that included two stints as superintendent in Santa Fe and several years as First Secretary of State for Education. (Eddie Moore / Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Although her last day of work was Friday, Santa Fe did not see the end of Veronica García.

Now a two-time former superintendent of Santa Fe public schools, García said she would return to the different city to launch the Kite Tail Foundation, a new non-profit organization that will work for homeless children.

………………………………………….. … …………..

“The reason I chose this name is that a kite tail prevents a kite from turning. He keeps him in balance so he can soar, ”said García, 70.

The main focus, she said, will be to support children by providing them with various items that are not funded by schools – a scholarship application or a pair of basketball shoes, for example.

“There is also help and collaborative work with other organizations around public policy to better support homeless students,” she said, adding that through enrichment programs , homeless children may see a different reality that gives them hope.

Veronica García, then superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe, talks to educators about a bond issuance proposal that would improve the school district’s technological infrastructure. Voters approved the bail in an election in 2018 (TS Last / Albuquerque Journal)

It fits very well with how García has spent his entire 48-year career in education, which included two stints as superintendent in Santa Fe, plus an additional seven years in the capital as first secretary in the New Mexico Education. Hailing from Albuquerque, Santa Fe was a second home for García.

“It’s a special community,” she says. “The for-profit and non-profit community wants to work with schools, and we’ve grown it. It really is a great school district. The teachers are engaged and we have great community partners.

Larry Chavez, who served as associate superintendent of sports / activities and tutoring under García and will take over as the new head of schools on July 1, knows he has big shoes to fill.

“She’s such an amazing mentor,” said Chavez, who was hired by García as associate superintendent for athletics and activities in 2017. “One of the things is that she’s so detail-oriented. . She read everything and combed through to make sure every detail was covered.

Chavez said he doesn’t plan to make any major changes when he officially takes on the job.

“If it’s not broken, you don’t need to fix it,” he said. “Dr. García has laid a great foundation. We have a great team.

Kate Noble, president of the school board, said García not only brought her expertise to the post, she also brought heart.

“The metaphor of the heart is appropriate. She didn’t want to let things languish or be overlooked and also made it clear that schools are a social system. You can’t just be critical, you have to bring heart and creativity.

Veronica García began her first term as Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools in 1999. (Eddie Moore / Albuquerque Journal)

At García’s last school board meeting on Thursday, the board surprised her with a resolution that declared her Superintendent Dr. Veronica C. García Day, expressing “her deep gratitude and gratitude for leading with the head. and the heart, for his immeasurable impact on the lives of students, families and educators in New Mexico, and for leaving an extraordinary legacy in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico.

“Dr. García has always really pushed for excellence,” said Noble. “She has done an incredible job aligning and improving our curriculum and our teaching – which is at the heart of education. created a culture of excellence and collaboration and was open to new ideas.… She was an incredible combination of knowledge, experience, heart and creativity.

García cited culture change, fostering collaboration, opening up both vertical and horizontal lines of communication, and aligning curriculum and teaching as some of the things she is most proud of during her visit. second stint as superintendent.

Graduation rates fell from 71% in 2016 to 86.3% in 2020 during his tenure, the second-best graduation rate among all school districts in New Mexico.

García said she was also proud of the staff she brought together.

“We had a good balance of new and experienced people, a multigenerational firm. It was a great running and a solid foundation

Superintendent Veronica García kisses Fernando Bonilla, a student at Capshaw Middle School, as she visits staff at the Santa Fe District Office upon her return to Santa Fe as Acting Superintendent in 2016 (Eddie Moore / Albuquerque Journal)

n what to build on, ”she said.

García thanked frontline teachers for the school district’s success since García resumed her role as superintendent in 2016 – first hired as acting superintendent after Joel Boyd left, but relinquished the permanent position a few more weeks later. late.

García said she felt she had improved her relations with the union workforce.

“We don’t always agree on everything, but that’s okay. But I think we have always been able to come to agreements, ”she said.

Grace Mayer, chair of the NEA local charter, could not be reached for comment last week. She also did not attend Thursday’s school board meeting, but did send a message which was read by Noble. He said union members and the Santa Fe community were grateful to García (and retired Deputy Superintendent Linda Cink) for their “leadership, compassion and professionalism.” They will be missed, ”he said.

García began her career as a teacher in her hometown.

She came from humble beginnings, raised by her aunt in a house with tiles laid directly on a dirt floor, running water only in the kitchen and two outbuildings in the courtyard. Working odd jobs to help put food on the table, she learned the value of an education in public schools through experience.

“This is why I have always been so passionate about the fact that we have high expectations, but also support children,” García told the Journal upon his return to Santa Fe in July 2016. “We have to ourselves. hold accountable because we want to have access to quality education to break the cycle of poverty.

García’s doctoral thesis focused on the professional development of educational leaders, so it is not surprising that she has held leadership positions in education.

She was first hired as the superintendent of Santa Fe in 1999 and has remained Gov until then. Bill Richardson appointed her secretary of education in 2003. She remained in that position until the end of Richardson’s administration in 2010.

Santa Fe Public School Superintendent Veronica Garcia leads a bus of community leaders on a tour of the district’s past and future projects in 2017 (Eddie Moore / Albuquerque Journal)

During this time, she advocated for educational reform and helped put in place the state’s Pre-K Act, Hispanic Education Act and programs for at-risk students ” , according to the resolution of the school board honoring his work.

“She also advocated for a comprehensive approach to education reform by advocating for increased funding for programs such as school health clinics, school breakfast and elementary physical education,” indicates the resolution.

After leaving the state government, García spent several years as the executive director of the non-profit organization Voices for Children, which works to promote the well-being of children, until he returned to SFPS for a second time four years ago.

The Kite Tail Foundation is just one of the many projects she has planned for her “retirement”.

“After this job it’s so intense, if I had to stop completely I think it would be a shock to my system,” she said. “I’m not retiring, I’m slowing down and shifting gears.

She will do small-scale consulting work, she said, and also intends to write three books.

One of the books she has already started writing is a dissertation.

“I worked on it bit by bit,” she said.

Another book will focus on the components of ethical leadership.

“Ethical leadership is so necessary. It will be about the components and strategies of leadership, and the best way to pivot in education, ”she said.

García said she also plans to write a novel. It’s a detective story right now because she refused to say what it was about.

She also intends to spend more time with her grandchildren, who live out of state.

“It’s easier to travel now,” said García, who has a group of grandchildren in Arizona and one in Texas. “The pandemic has underscored how precious time is and how important it is to connect. “

And she will stay in touch with Santa Fe through the Kite Tail Foundation and its ongoing advocacy for the youth of New Mexico.

“Some people think it’s trite to say that children are our future and that we need to invest in them,” she said. “It has been my passion. I am motivated by the work I do. It is a vocation. It’s part of who I am.

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Some CT districts expect a jump in kindergarten. Other families may not return to public school Sat, 19 Jun 2021 10:04:37 +0000

As the school year draws to a close, districts in the Danbury area are waiting to see if they will receive an influx of kindergarten children in the fall.

Over the past year, several districts have experienced a drop in enrollment as parents chose to postpone kindergarten for one year, move to private school or their children’s homeschooling in order to reduce the uncertainties of blended learning and provide a “more normal” experience.

Now, some officials are waiting, and in some cases, already seeing a comeback. Other neighborhoods, on the other hand, are not experiencing much change.

Final enrollment counts are still ongoing in most locations as parents continue to enroll their children during the summer.

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LSU Board of Directors calls on LDH to demand COVID-19 vaccine for public school students Sat, 19 Jun 2021 00:50:43 +0000

LSU’s board of directors on Friday approved a resolution asking the Louisiana Department of Health to add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of required vaccines for students before they can attend public schools, colleges and universities. universities, reports The Advocate.

The resolution recognizes concerns raised by students and faculty and also encourages voluntary vaccinations on LSU campuses. The council’s academic and research committee voted 4-3 to move the resolution forward, then discussed the matter later, adding wording that LSU would advise students of their legal rights to opt out of any vaccinations.

Board members ultimately approved resolution 9-2, with several supervisors not voting, reports The Advocate.

State law already requires that students be vaccinated against polio, smallpox and more before they are allowed to attend, but they can opt out for religious and medical reasons.

General Counsel Winston DeCuir told the LSU Board of Directors that because COVID-19 vaccines were only approved by the FDA in emergencies, they could not be unilaterally added to the required list as long as that they were not fully approved.

DeCuir also referred to House Bill 498, currently awaiting Gov. Edwards signature, which prohibits discrimination against those seeking public services based on COVID vaccination status, and House Resolution 20, requiring schools to inform parents and students about the Covid vaccine19.

73% of LSU faculty and 56% of staff have been vaccinated, according to LSU president Tom Galligan. 26% of students received the blow.

Read more of The Advocate here.

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Dracut Schools Offer Stickers to Cover Yearbook Offensive Entry on Alleged Killer – Lowell Sun Fri, 18 Jun 2021 05:25:13 +0000

DRACUT – Heidi Kimborowicz on Tuesday started a petition calling on administrators at Dracut Public School to reprint the 2021 high school yearbook after two posts that appear to support the accused killer of her 20-year-old son appeared on its pages.

Thursday evening – with the petition counting up to over 2,000 signatures – Superintendent Steven Stone announced that district administrators have decided, instead of reprinting the directory, to send out “sticker overlays” to everyone. those who bought a book.

According to Stone, the stickers – which will be provided by the directory publisher – will be the same color as the directory stock and will permanently adhere to the page, blocking out the content.

“We’ll have them in about a week,” Stone said. “We will mail them to everyone who has purchased a book and it will be their decision to apply these stickers to the offending language.”

Kimborowicz was told of the school administration’s idea shortly after Stone made the announcement Thursday night. She responded to the idea with disgust, calling it a band-aid.

“It’s ridiculous,” Kimborowicz said. “It’s the cheapest plan they can think of anyway, because it’s Dracut for you.”

“It’s sad because they wouldn’t be happy if it was one of their children,” she added while becoming moved. “It’s overwhelming. I’ve just had enough.

Dracut High alumnus Adrian Kimborowicz, 20, was found by Lowell Police on Sutherland Street on September 26 with a gunshot wound to the right side of his chest. The injured man informed police at the scene that “C-Mello” was one of the people who shot him, according to police reports filed with the Lowell District Court.

Adrian Kimborowicz spent the next month unconscious on a ventilator at Tufts Medical Center in Boston before dying on October 28.

The 2021 Dracut High School yearbook includes two photographs of students captioned with “Free Mello” – an apparent reference to the 18-year-old Dracut man, Christian “C-Mello” Lemay. Lowell police allege Lemay shot Adrian Kimborowicz while targeting another man.

Heidi Kimborowicz said she learned of the yearbook entries from students who were friends with her son.

“I just felt numb,” Kimborowicz said earlier this week. “I couldn’t believe it could go through one of the advisers. I don’t know how they didn’t get it.

Stone said that after learning of the disturbing content, the district immediately apologized to Kimborowicz. From there, school administrators investigated how the content ended up in the directory in the first place.

According to Stone, two directory advisers review all of the content students provide for directory entry to make sure nothing inappropriate happens. Stone said “Free Mello” was reported and wanted by advisers. He added that an internet search of “Mello” did not reveal any information about the shooting, Lemay or Adrian Kimborowicz.

“In fact, most of the people at Dracut High School aren’t aware of this situation,” Stone added. “Our advisers were also unaware of his nickname, because it was not the assailant’s name, it was his nickname.”

From there, the administration figured out how to rectify the situation, which prompted them to continue with sticker overlays.

“We obviously can’t collect directories,” Stone said. “The students went to a book signing, so the kids signed each other’s directories. We certainly cannot get them back.

According to Kimborowicz, the idea of ​​overlaying stickers is not an adequate solution. She plans to continue her campaign for a reprinted version of the directory.

“I know not everyone wants a reprint,” she said. “Unfortunately, because I guess they agree with what he says, but there are a lot of people who are not happy with what he says, and I’m sure they would rather not put bandage on it. “

Adrian Kimborowicz attended Dracut High School for years and played college football and basketball for the Middies before moving and graduating from Lowell High School in 2019.

“It’s not fair to the students who had it who were friends with Adrian or our family and they have to see it in the yearbook,” Kimborowicz said. “If they received a new printed directory, it wouldn’t be there. Years from now they will look back and see a band-aid on the commentary and they will always remember what’s there.

Kimborowicz admitted to receiving an apology from the directors, but described their apology as unsatisfactory.

“I really think they don’t care enough and won’t do much other than this sticker idea that they have,” she added. “They just don’t care enough.”

Lemay – charged with assault with a weapon with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a loaded firearm without a license, carrying a firearm without a license and unloading a firearm at less than 500 feet from accommodation – was held without bail on October 13, when he was arraigned in Lowell District Court while Adrian Kimborowicz was still alive.

At a dangerousness hearing on October 16, a Lowell District Court judge ruled that Lemay was too dangerous to be released pending trial and ordered his detention without bail for at least 90 days. No upgraded charges were filed after Kimborowicz’s death, and Lemay was not indicted by a grand jury.

Although police initially described Lemay as “armed and dangerous,” 90 days after he was also determined by a judge to be too dangerous to be released – in January – his bail was reduced to $ 50,000 cash. In April, without further charges or indictments, Lemay’s bond was lowered to $ 7,500 in cash, on the condition that Lemay remain under house arrest and wear a GPS monitoring device to ensure safety. conformity.

Lemay posted this bond and has been under house arrest ever since.

Police reports cite witnesses who say Kimborowicz was not Lemay’s target, and that Kimborowicz was only involved because Lemay allegedly knew he was friends with another man who allegedly stole an eighth of an ounce of marijuana in Lemay months earlier. Kimborowicz was just a go-between, setting up what he believed to be a one-on-one brawl between two other men, according to police reports.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis

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Public schools hope for a rebound after enrollment plummets Thu, 17 Jun 2021 09:18:09 +0000

Ashley Pearce’s daughter was scheduled to enter kindergarten last year in the Montgomery County school system in Maryland. But when it became clear the year would begin online, Pearce found a nearby Catholic school offering in-person instruction and made the switch.

Pearce is now grappling with a big question: Should his child go back to the local public school? She is reluctant to uproot her daughter after making friends, and Pearce fears the neighborhood will go completely virtual again if there is a slight increase in coronavirus cases.

“Everything will be fine if we stay where we are, and this stability for my family is probably the path we are going to take. Said Pearce.

While many parents in the United States share the same concerns, school districts that lost enrollments during the pandemic are anxiously awaiting fall to see how many families stick to the education choices they have made. over the past year. Hoping to attract students, many districts have launched efforts to connect with families with young children, including covering communities with road signs and enlisting bus drivers to call parents.

There are early signs that registrations may not fully rebound, and the stakes are high. If enrollment does not recover, public schools that lose students could potentially experience funding cuts, although pandemic relief money is increasing budgets for now.

Sustained declines in enrollment could also change the demographics of US public schools. A one-of-a-kind analysis by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press found that enrollment declines varied depending on the race and ethnicity of students. Preschool to 12 enrollments fell 2.6 percent in 41 states last fall, and the decline was most pronounced among white students, whose enrollment fell more than 4 percent.

The decisions of white families seemed particularly influenced by the fact that their child’s public school offered in-person learning. The Chalkbeat / AP analysis found that states where more students were learning almost completely tended to see larger declines among white students.

Meanwhile, the nation’s Hispanic student body has seen the biggest change from pre-pandemic trends, with enrollment down 1.5% last fall – a significant change, given that students Hispanics had been the fastest growing group of college students in the country. This could be linked to some of the disruption suffered by Hispanic families during the pandemic, including higher rates of job losses and higher rates of death and hospitalizations from COVID-19.

The data underscores the complicated task facing schools as they attempt to reconnect with families who have left public schools for different reasons and have found themselves faced with a wide range of alternatives.

“Districts could have this kind of ‘different shots for different people’ policy,” said Richard Welsh, an associate professor at New York University who has studied student mobility. “’We are open for business and we are committed to learning in person’ could be more targeted at white families. “

On the other hand, the Welshman said: “when you have districts that organize visits on their security protocols, these might be more targeted at their black and Latin families” whose communities have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Such an effort is underway in San Antonio, where the predominantly Latino school district has seen enrollment drop by more than 5%. Officials predict that registrations will increase this fall, but not to pre-pandemic levels.

To build the confidence of families concerned about in-person learning, district officials have organized town halls where families can ask questions of experts about COVID-19 vaccines. The district will also continue to offer a fully virtual schooling option. School officials strive to get in touch with all families who have left or have not enrolled their child in kindergarten or kindergarten.

whether over the phone or during a home visit, said Superintendent Pedro Martinez. The district even instructed bus drivers to call families between routes to encourage them to register their children.

And while Martinez focuses on the early years, where enrollment has fallen the most, he also has his eye on older students. Almost all of the students in the district come from low-income families, and many have secured jobs to help their families weather the pandemic. He fears that so many teens have continued to learn remotely all spring so they can continue working, although he understands the financial pressure.

“It’s so easy for a 16 or 17 year old to prioritize work over school,” he said.

Some education options in the event of a pandemic, such as placing young children in day care instead of kindergarten, are likely to be abandoned. But some families may stick with private schools, especially if, like Pearce, they see it as a way to avoid uncertainty.

It is not known exactly how many students these schools absorbed. In some states that follow it, such as Delaware and New Hampshire, private school enrollment has increased 5% or more this year, according to data obtained by Chalkbeat and the AP. But in several others, including New York, Louisiana, Indiana and Colorado, private school enrollment has fallen 3% or more, indicating families have not changed en masse.

Notably, it is not only the rich who have left public schools. There were significant declines in enrollment among students from low-income and wealthier families in the 35 states that provided data.

Other families could continue to home-school their children – a practice that has spread to the few states that have followed it. In New York and Virginia, for example, home schooling has grown by more than 50% this year, although it has remained a relatively rare choice.

Regardless, districts are now stepping up their recruiting efforts, hoping to take advantage of small increases seen in recent months as in-person learning has become more widely available.

In Spokane, Wash., Enrollment fell nearly 7% last fall, with the largest drops seen among Asian, black and white students. District officials reached out to families via text messages and letters and through community groups.

They focused on the district’s plan to reduce class sizes this fall, which they see as a selling point for families who want more individual attention for their children and for those with fears. persistent regarding the coronavirus. The district assures families that it will offer both full-time in-person education and a virtual option.

“We want to create as much predictability and try to alleviate a sense of the unknown and fear as much as possible,” said Superintendent Adam Swinyard, “and just let our families know that we are ready and eager to come back.”

Researchers who track student demographics are also watching closely to see who is coming back. In the fall, it will be clearer whether the listing changes have longer term implications.

Some districts are already expecting the pandemic to have a lasting effect.

In Denver, officials estimate registrations will drop 6% in the coming years – a rate nearly double what was predicted before the pandemic. Falling birth rates and rising house prices pushing families apart are significant factors, but officials believe the pandemic has exacerbated those losses, especially among the younger classes. Kindergarten enrollments are down considerably for the next school year.

District planning director Sara Walsh said the total decline could be “quite large”. But she didn’t give up on a turnaround: “I hope maybe suddenly tons of kids show up.”

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Winchester Public Schools Combines Coding and Active Play with Unruly Splats Wed, 16 Jun 2021 12:42:00 +0000

WINCHESTER, Virginia., June 16, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Unruly Studios today announced a partnership with Winchester Public schools to integrate computers and active play throughout the school day. Teachers at John Kerr Elementary School and Garland Quarles Elementary School have started using Unruly Splats, programmable floor buttons that students can code to turn on, make sounds, and collect points to play games like relay races, the four corners or any other game of their own making. .

“We know children learn best when they have time to play, which is why we do four 15-minute breaks each day,” said Jenny ramsey, a computer integration coach at Garland Quarles Elementary School, where physical education teachers are the first to integrate Unruly Splats into their classrooms. “With Unruly Splats, we can combine two of our core learning priorities: active play and STEM education.”

Winchester is one of ten public school districts nationwide to receive an Educational Research and Innovation Grant from the United States Department of Education. This $ 4 million grant supports Garland Quarles Elementary and John Kerr Elementary through the District METRICs program, an immersive approach to computer science education focused on integrating into the curriculum to boost the success of traditionally under-represented students and having high needs.

“As Virginia and other states plan to add computer science to state testing requirements, innovating in computer science education and introducing it at an earlier age is critical. “, said Jennifer LaBombard-Daniels, PhD, specialist in METRICS grants for Winchester Public schools. “Unruly Splats is a way to integrate computer science into subjects like math and language arts in a fun and accessible way for students and teachers.”

Unruly Splats helps schools achieve a range of high priority learning goals, including:

  • Interdisciplinary coding: A Gallup study found that 9 in 10 parents want their children to learn computer science in school. Unruly Splats allows teachers to integrate coding into any subject, including physical education, general education, science, and even music!

  • Recess type set combined with STEM: The games kids play with Unruly Splats encourage physical movement, helping to fight a decades-long decline in active play for children exacerbated by the pandemic.

  • Collaborative games that connect students virtually and in person: A cloud-based app lets kids and teachers code and play games with Unruly Splats in any setting – school, virtual, or hybrid.

School memberships include Unruly Splats, unlimited places in the coding app for teachers and students, resources and lesson plans developed by curriculum experts, and continuing professional development opportunities to ensure that teachers are empowered to integrate STEM into their classrooms.

“We designed Unruly Splats to mimic what it’s like to work with a team to create a new product. Except the product is made up of active games that they know and love,” said Bryanne leeming, CEO and Founder of Unruly Studios. “Computer science education isn’t just about preparing the next generation of coders, it’s about teaching essential skills such as problem solving, collaboration and resilience.”

To learn more about Unruly Splats, visit

About Unruly Studios
Unruly Studios is the creator of Unruly Splats, the first STEM learning tool that combines coding and active play. Students create their own games with programmable ground buttons they can code to light up, make sounds, and collect points when stepped on. Unruly Studios’ vision is to create an electronic playground that makes learning more fun, collaborative and inclusive. The team is made up of experts in cognitive science, toy manufacturing, education and technology who bring extensive industry experience from Scratch, Hasbro, Mattel, Nickelodeon, iRobot, Disney and MIT Media Lab.

Media contact:
Charlotte neighborhood
(530) 563-6860


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SOURCE Undisciplined studios

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Whistleblower exposes problem with Chesterfield school water pipes: “Playing with fire” Tue, 15 Jun 2021 17:26:05 +0000

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Virginia – A test, required annually by the Commonwealth of Virginia, to protect drinking water is not consistently performed by the Chesterfield County Public School System (CCPS).

A former CCPS maintenance worker, who asked CBS 6 Problem Solvers to protect his identity, said he warned district leaders that they were not following required tests of the backflow preventer.

A discharge device is installed to prevent contamination by maintaining the flow of water in one direction.

“I told them they were putting a lot of lives at risk by breaking the laws,” said the former CCPS employee. “Once I got no indication that they were really going in the right direction, it really started to bother me. I realized, of course, that was widespread. “

The employee raised concerns about the contamination of school and public water to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), along with photos and videos of water pipes without labels. inspection.

Provided to WTVR

“This not only opens up the endangerment of people in the school, but it paves the way for the endangerment of surrounding neighborhoods,” said the former employee.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, problem solvers got a letter dated May 11, 2021, from the Bureau of Drinking Water to the Director of Chesterfield Utilities, the Superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools and the Building Manager.

VDH informed them of the allegations, the requirements under the Virginia code, and the potential dangers.

“The Office of Drinking Water (ODW) has been in constant communication with the water supply system since the original letter of May 11, 2021, to discuss how the water system is helping schools improve their curriculum. backflow prevention test. James Reynolds, Drinking Water Director, said: “As part of our ongoing investigation, ODW will provide recommendations on how all parties can improve the cross-connection control processes. These recommendations are currently under review.

“The backflow test is so important, because it is not known whether the assemblies will work or not unless we test them and what they do by preventing contamination from going back into the water. So obviously if you don’t. don’t, you “are just playing Russian roulette,” said Chris Mayhew, president of the Virginia chapter of the American Backflow Prevention Association.

Chesterfield Schools Water Pipe.jpg

Provided to WTVR

Under the Freedom of Information Act, problem solvers have requested backflow prevention test records for the past two years from all public schools in Chesterfield. These records confirmed that the district does not conduct annual tests of all of its devices.

On average, 46 of its 293 registered devices were inspected each year, or 16% of the district’s inventory.

“A backflow, which is not tested, if there is a case of backflow, then that contamination goes back into the drinking water and whoever pours the glass is going to drink that water,” Mayhew said.

Problem solvers confirmed that CCPS received approximately 50 pushback test notices from the Chesterfield Department of Public Services in 2019.

“The Chesterfield Utilities Department is committed to working with Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) as they perform backflow inspection and testing at their facilities. As part of our backflow program, we informed CCPS in December 2019 of the owner’s requirement to inspect and test their backflow devices annually by a certified backflow inspector, ”said Teresa Bonifas, spokesperson of Chesterfield County.

Forty-eight devices of the CCPS fire sprinkler system were tested in summer 2019 in 45 out of 64 schools and only resumed on May 18, 2021. It was seven days after the district received the VDH notice.

Forty-nine devices in 45 schools have been tested so far this year.

At Matoaca High School, the same device broke in 2019 and 2021 with the same problem.

The county said the CCPS informed them that the device had been repaired, tested and adopted on April 14, 2020, and that it should now be repaired and retested due to the results of the recent inspection.

Problem-solvers have not received a record of this repair, but CCPS says a record has been provided to county utilities.

The failure, experts say, left the public water pipe vulnerable despite CCPS pointing out that the system is a low-risk backflow device.

“It is the main responsibility of the water supplier, if he knows that there is a danger, there must be a backflow preventer or it is not maintained or is not tested every year as it should be, there really is a recourse is to discontinue the service, ”said Mayhew.

“While Chesterfield Utilities has been challenged to maintain a backflow prevention and inspection program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already identified and implemented process improvements. We are committed to working with CCPS to review their backflow inventories and increase education and communication with our customers on the importance of annual inspections and testing. Finally, we appreciate the opportunity to make the public aware of the importance of this subject and the need to protect the public water system, ”Bonifas said.

Between January and February 2020, 42 drinking water devices were tested in 33 of 64 Chesterfield County public schools. Problem solvers received no test history for the following 14 Chesterfield County public schools:

  • Bon Air Elementary School
  • Clover Hill Elementary School
  • Crenshaw Elementary School
  • Crestwood Elementary School
  • AM Davis Elementary School
  • Falling Creek Elementary School
  • Gordon Elementary School
  • Harrowgate Primary School
  • Matoaca Primary School
  • Old Cent Elementary School
  • Rames Primary School
  • Swift Creek Elementary School
  • Manchester College
  • Carver College and Career Academy

“I just can’t imagine why you would risk people’s health in this way,” said a mother from Woodlake, who said her daughter had been treated but had never been tested for Legionnaires’ disease in 5th grade at Clover Hill Elementary School last year, said.

Clover Hill is one of 14 schools for which Problem Solvers 6 did not receive any test data.

“If they don’t do the test they need on the water supply system, what else aren’t they testing?” The mom asked. “We trust schools to do what they are supposed to do.

In an email dated September 25, 2019, the affected parent wrote to the Virginia Department of Health.

“I would like the CDC to conduct a more in-depth investigation into air quality and maintenance

schools in Chesterfield County, Virginia, specifically cooling towers and HVAC systems.

This summer, there have been several cases where residents of the county have tested positive for Legionnaire.

and the cooling towers of several schools have also tested positive for the bacteria.

The county says there is no correlation between any of the

case and state of schools, HOWEVER, my daughter (5th grade)

is currently being treated as if it had been exposed to the bacteria

depending on his symptoms, multiple tests excluding other possibilities and visits to the doctor.

She has been ill for over two weeks now. She just finished a round of

azithromycin and we continue to have 24 hour respiratory therapy every 4 hours.

Her doctor (the attending physician for her group of pediatricians) said she had seen several

other children in Chesterfield County whom she also treated for exposure to bacteria,

but hadn’t tested a single one. I am also aware through conversations with additional resources

that there are other children treated in other establishments, but not tested.

My daughter has not been tested. I was pushed and given all the reasons why the test wouldn’t be relevant.

So my question is, how many cases are there really that correlate with the problems with bacteria found in the cooling towers of Chesterfield County schools?

Maybe if tests were done (on those treated) responsibly, the county

would realize they have a much bigger problem at hand.

“It drove me crazy then,” she said. “She missed three weeks of school at the start of the year, and it was just masked and swept up and I would just hate that she had to start over and I hate that someone else was eventually exposed to this. Of course it’s scary, “she added.

Chesterfield child.png

Photo provided to WTVR

“They’re playing with fire and saving money, or trying to do it,” the former employee said. “They are trying to save a lot of money, like they did with Legionella and they kind of played down that by saying it was lack of maintenance. The only word they left out is was that it was an intentional lack of maintenance. It was a conscious decision made by the administrators to stop treating this water, just as it was a conscious decision made by them not to test the water. repression. “

“Have you been fired?” Problem solver Laura French asked.

“No, ma’am, I quit,” replied the former employee.

“What is your motivation for speaking? Asked the French.

“My motivation is to see Chesterfield change in a way where they are held accountable. Because my daughter went to these schools. Okay, and also the fear that, you know, something might happen, and I know about it, and then I’ll be the one that couldn’t sleep at night. That’s my motivation.

“If you know you could endanger people on that scale, that’s very immoral.”

CCPS spokesperson Shawn Smith said: “In November 2019, the post of PM [Preventative Maintenance] Manager was created and staffed to identify and resolve issues resulting from years of deferred maintenance. The Facilities Manager and PM Manager identified discrepancies when reviewing the list provided by County Utilities in January 2020. “

Smith said in the aftermath of COVID, the plumbing department’s efforts changed, and then the backflow device inventory resumed in November 2020. He said inventories for the 68 buildings were completed in January 2021.

Smith said a $ 40,000 contract for future inspections was awarded on June 4, 2021. He added that the PM manager was working with contractors to schedule the remaining inspections. These inspections were to be completed before the schools reopen in the summer and will be carried out annually.

He said the district continues to review and reconcile inventories with county utilities and categorize all backflow devices.

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Orange County Public Schools to Provide Summer Meals for Troubled Families Mon, 14 Jun 2021 23:04:02 +0000

ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – Orange County Public Schools currently serve meals for any child 18 and under at 66 locations across the county.

“Believe it or not, I mean we live in a big community, but there are a lot of families who just that little bit goes a long way,” Jennifer Buko said after picking up a box of meals for her family. .

Buko doesn’t think only of his own family.

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“It not only helps my family, but we also share with other families who cannot come here. So as we know some single mothers in the area who cannot come here because they are working full time and therefore whatever I get I can share with them, ”said Buko.

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For Tammy Brache, meals come at a time when her family continues to struggle with the pandemic.

“After COVID, our work decreased because we are self-employed and it’s amazing for the family. We are sure our children are having a healthy meal and we don’t have to deal with that pressure, ”said Brache.

OCPS is making sure that no child is left behind this summer when it comes to their daily meals.

“We receive the list of federal benefits and we know that children who are directly certified for federal benefits have skyrocketed to 75% this year,” said Lora Gilbert, senior director of the Food and Nutrition program at the OCPS. “We know family budgets are tight.

The Summer Meal Distribution Program is a federally funded program of the USDA. Food insecurity remained high from pre-pandemic levels for 96% of Florida counties, according to a report released in March by Feeding America. In central Florida, one in seven people and one in five children in households could be food insecure in 2021.

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Every Monday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., OCPS will be distributing curbside meals at 66 locations. Each box contains seven meals for breakfast and lunch.

“We have a croissant and a turkey cheese sandwich, then we have a deli turkey and cheese sandwich. One of the things they really like is the lasagna roll and if they heat it up it’s the ricotta cheese and the pasta, ”Gilbert said.

School officials said children did not need to be enrolled in the public school system to pick up a box.

Last year, OCPS said it delivered more than 2 million meals between June and July.

For more information on curbside collection points in Orange County, click here.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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